Dear Sweet Daughter,
I am writing this letter now, while you are still young, to read when you are older, these are all the life lessons I hope to teach you by that time. I will use this letter as a reminder on what is most important when guiding you and then one day this letter will transform into a keepsake for you.
As I sit and reminisce about all the milestones I have gotten to fulfill in my life, I realize I sometimes forgot to live in the moment. I was the epitome of too big for my boots. I couldn’t wait to start to start high school. Then I couldn’t wait to drive, then get out of high school and start college. Then I was dying to start a career and get married. Buy a house, make the picture perfect front yard and have kids. Once I had you, life changed. Time seemed to fly by, and I started reminiscing about all the time that had already passed.
I was so rushed to start the next pre-determined milestone that I forgot to take in the special parts of each phase. Life isn’t a race, simply because the first to the finish is done. I hope to give you the world through your eyes, not mine. You have an untainted view of life that I wish I could get back. My goal is to help you live in each moment and gain life experiences that hopefully one day you can look back on and remember with vivid clarity the emotions you felt in that moment. The list I want you to have conveys what I hope I can teach you through my actions as your Mom. This list is largely inspired by a book I found while in college, “Dance While You Can” by Lance Wubbels.
1. First and above all I hope you understand that what I feel in my heart and the love I have for you is an eternal love. Nothing can ever change that. We will not always see eye to eye, and both of us will hurt each other as we grow but nothing will ever change or replace the love I have for you.
2. It doesn’t matter if you can’t dance, Just get up and move. I love that you are fearless in who you are, and I hope that you never lose that. Always remember, enjoying life from the sideline isn’t living.
3. You choose who you are. Others cannot define that for you, not me or your dad, not your sister or your friends. You are who you decide to be, sometimes it takes time to figure it out and that’s ok. The most important tip I can leave you is that when you are determining who you are be very careful of who is around you and influencing and evaluate if they are helping or tainting who you are. And remember life is too short to feel embarrassed of who you are, learn to laugh at yourself and enjoy the moment you are in.
4. Establish what moral boundaries are important to you and NEVER compromise them for anyone or anything. Not your spouse, not your job or boss, not your friends, not for money, and not for pleasure. You alone determine yourself respect and self worth. Others will respect you more if you are true and not fake, don’t change for the situation or surroundings.
5. It’s ok to have differing opinions from others, including me. So many times I have seen people with differing views make each other the enemy. This will be true on a global scale and on a personal scale. Sometimes it’s ok if we disagree. It doesn’t mean I respect you or love you any less, it just means I have taught you the value of a differing opinion. Same goes when you disagree with a friend, co-worker, or stranger on the internet; truly listen and consider their point. It may stretch you to think of things from their shoes.
6. There is always room for growth. Wisdom doesn’t just come to you, its obtained. Always move toward truth, seek truth, and never think you can’t learn something. Read to your hearts content, gain wisdom from what you find. Reading is a way that your mind can take you places your body may never get to go.
7. Rather than complain about what you don’t have, learn to be truly and sincerely grateful for what you do have. Let me start by saying, I am still working on this one. Make yourself content though never complacent. (This thought was adapted from the book mentioned above.) If you become stale and complacent you will never better yourself. Learning something new isn’t a sign of unintelligence, it’s a sign of growth. Never covet what others have, you will always want more and will fall short in your own mind. Instead set goals and build dreams and work towards those.
8. True love isn’t the way it’s portrayed in fairytales. I’m sorry. I know that you love the Little Mermaid, Cinderelly, Princess Anna, and the list goes on. But love is work. People change, circumstances change, and it takes an evolving door of commitment and trust to make what we call Love.
9. Meet people where they are. In other words life isn’t always about you. You are not better than anyone, you just strive to be the best you. If someone isn’t in a perfect situation in life, that is not for you to judge, be there for them. If it’s not a place you should be, you have the choice to walk away from any situation. Never forget that there is always a choice.
10. You have been given freedom. You live in a country where you can achieve and be who you want to be. Don’t sell yourself short, because at the end of the day you have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and wouldn’t it be awesome to know that you took full advantage of every opportunity given.
There are so many other things I could include in this list, but if you get nothing else out of me as your mom, I hope that I am able to show you love and respect in all things. You are strong, you are beautiful, and you are valuable. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. And when you go out on your own, and life gets busy. I hope you know that I will be here for you to lean on. No judging. Just listening and offering love.
This post is written by Alyssa B.